1⁄35Panzerhaubitze 2000 build
IntroductionWhen it comes to the Panzerhaubitze 2000 the only available model in 1/35th scale was that by Revell of Germany, but that has now been superseded by a new offering from Meng Model. A lot has been said about this model and as such this review will concentrate on how buildable it is, rather than on its accuracy, though I will of course point out anything of questionable accuracy as I go.
Product QualityFirst off, I am very impressed by the quality of the packaging of this model, which means it should always arrive in good condition: the tracks are separately boxed, as is the metal barrel, the sprues are packed in individual plastic bags, only doubling up where there are pairs of identical sprues. The mouldings have a little flash in places, but it is minor. The kit is free of excessive seam lines, and although the ejector pin marks all look to be on areas that won’t be seen on the finished model, some of them are surprisingly large which is disappointing to see on a model of this quality. The only moulding fault that is visible are flow/cooling lines, but the ones present on this example, thankfully all feel and look to be fully closed up. One thing I observed is that some of the sprue gates are a little on the large size.
The BuildWheels and Suspension Step 1 starts in the usual place with the wheels. This kit uses what I call the ‘Tamiya method’, meaning poly caps are used to attach the wheels to the suspension arms. I actually like this as it makes for easy painting and allows removal of the wheels for weathering. Clean up of the toothed drive wheels requires care as it would be very easy to cut into the teeth or the ring. Closing up the drive and idler wheel is simplicity itself; however the same cannot be said for the road wheels: the shallow ring used for locking the wheel halves together is too shallow and does not provide a positive lock. On the plus side there is no moulding seam around the track contact surface of the wheels requiring attention. I have not cleaned up the sprue gate at this point, as I prefer to do that after the wheels are glued together; this helps to ensure the blade is kept at 90 degrees to the surface and any extra sanding required is also at the correct angle, rather than wearing down one side more than the other. Stud patterns on all of the wheels look to be accurate, but the bolt detail is a little soft. Step 2 starts with the addition of the return roller mounting brackets, which fit very well due to very positive contact between hull and brackets. I do have one concern, which is that it is very easy to mount these brackets upside down; this problem could easily have been overcome by Meng had the shaped connecters been designed to fit one way up rather than either, so take care when adding these parts. The bump stops are also added at this point and again Meng has supplied a very positive connection both in terms of placement and creating a rigid joint. While covering step two, make sure you remember to drill the 1mm holes at the rear of the lower hull on the right. Step 3 covers the 5 shocks down each side of the hull and the mount and adjuster for the rear idler wheel. Meng has again provided very positive locations and joint strength for these parts. Clean up is straight forward, with the exception of the idler mount and adjuster, where things are a little more involved. Step 4 covers the addition of the torsion bar suspension which is workable, and it’s one of the easiest assemblies for successfully creating a workable joint that I have come across. Both the suspension arm and torsion bar are supplied as a single moulding which keeps things simple. Once the parts are cleaned, insert the torsion bar through the relevant hole in the hull and then slot it into a simple retainer moulded as part of the hull on the opposite side. When all of the torsion bars are inserted from one side, add a small amount of adhesive to keep them in place and allow them to cure fully before attaching the torsion bars on the other side; this should ensure that even the most haphazard glue application will leave you with a posable suspension. During this stage you are also confronted with deciding one of the finishing options: the mounting plate with a hook, or a mounting bracket with nothing attached; I would have liked to see the option of a separate hook or shackle. Step 5 covers attaching the wheels to the model. For the purpose of this build review I have added the main wheels but not the return rollers, until I have got some paint down. I would not normally add the wheels at this point as it will make painting difficult, and while the poly caps make removal easy, it could result in damage if care is not taken. Something for you to consider regarding the wheels: I cut the sprue gates fairly close to the wheel mouldings and then used a course sand paper to remove the remains of the gate, and by taking that sanding action around the full circumference, you get a realistic worn look to the rubber portion of the wheels.
Copyright ©2020 by Darren Baker. _OPINIONS Historicus Forma, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2014-11-22 06:01:46. Unique Reads: 21391